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Central team seeks interaction with Bengal's COVID-19 death audit committee

The team sought the case records of all the COVID-19 patients, where the cause of death is attributed to some other cause by the committee.

Published: 24th April 2020 07:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2020 11:00 AM   |  A+A-

Workers sort fruits at a wholesale market during the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in Kolkata

Workers sort fruits at a wholesale market during the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in Kolkata. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

KOLKATA: The Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) in Kolkata wrote two letters to West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha on Friday seeking explanations for constituting a committee of doctors which declare the cause of death for COVID patients, besides details of case records where fatality is attributed to comorbidity by the panel.

“The Principal Secretary (Health), in his presentation on 23rd April, gave some reasons for the establishment of the Committee of Doctors and also mentioned that if a COVID patient dies in a road accident, he/she cannot be said to have died of COVID. The IMCT did not find the reasoning convincing as there is no comparison between a road death and a death in a hospital due to disease,’’ IMCT head Apurba Chandra wrote in one of the letters.

As for information provided to the IMCT, Bengal has recorded 18 COVID deaths while 39 others, whose test reports came positive after death, died due to comorbidity. ‘’The audit committee examined 57 cases and came to a conclusion that 18 of them died because of COVID,’’ Sinha said.

A day before, Chandra had expressed displeasure over facilities and unhygienic condition at a quarantine centre and a designated COVID hospital in Kolkata. He was also not satisfied with the presentation of the health department before the IMCT.

On Friday, Chandra sought a copy of the Bengal government’s order on the formation of the panel evaluating the cause of deaths, besides wanting to know the time taken by the committee for declaring the results.

The Inter-Ministerial Central Team boss sought five clarifications from the state, including delay in reports of COVID tests, the chaotic admission process at hospital, no social distancing at the waiting zone of the healthcare unit and an inadequate number of beds with ventilator facility. It also visited the ward at a hospital where bodies were seen lying on beds in a viral video.

Central team seeks clarifications on five points

The Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) boss sought five clarifications from the state, including delay in reports of COVID tests, the chaotic admission process at hospital, no social distancing at the waiting zone of the healthcare unit and an inadequate number of beds with ventilator facility.

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